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The International Writers Magazine: Review

Star Wars: A New Hope
Dir. George Lucas
Robert Hillum

1977 was a good year to be a geek. If there were a moment in time I would travel back to, this would be it. I'm sure watching Martin Luther King speak would be amazing, seeing the Berlin wall fall would be life changing and listening to all the fantastic music at Woodstock would be awe inspiring, but I would choose to stand in line for days and be there at the beginning, at the emergence of what would be an almost thirty year wait to it's completion.
But why? What is it about Star Wars and the Star Wars universe that has some many people wanting to be involved? The fan fictions written for Star Wars must take a life time to read. The scripts, movies and pastiches made lovingly in the name of never letting this experience die are innumerable. Something about this film, and the others, has touched something very deep, and very powerful in a great number of men, women and children around the world.

The story is a classic adventure story, and applies almost all of Prop’s basic characters and character traits. A young hero is sent on a quest to quell an evil empire, discover the truth about his families past and, of course, rescue the girl. There just happens to be spaceships, laser swords and aliens in there as well. And the girl turns out to be his sister. A New Hope is the classic Star Wars. Far from the excellence of The Empire Strikes Back, nowhere near as visually stunning as Attack of the Clones and doesn’t even touch the catharsis of Revenge of the Sith, Episode four encapsulates everything that a good adventure film should. Lucas is renowned for his excellence in the field of adventure with the Indiana Jones series or the fantastic Willow, but this is where it all began.

With the development of the high concept film, the cinema of spectacle, Star Wars was a ground breaking, record breaking hit. The common misconception that Star Wars is just for geeks seems to forget that it is still the second biggest grossing movie of all time. Either geeks went to the cinema a hell of a lot more in the 70’s or some other people may have crept in the back with hats on and collars up to have a sneaky peek at what all the fuss is about. Out of the six star wars films, three are in the top ten grossing films of all time. Spiderman produces a healthy two, but Star Wars holds the record.

But what is it that makes people keep going back for more? 29 years later and what was to be only three films has become six, with two children’s adventures, comic books, sing-a-longs, action figures, a television series (soon to come), novels, games etc, etc. People seem to be absorbed into this universe of lightsabers and parsecs, and is it just purely for a sense of escapism? Or is it a good example of how the old stories told in different ways across time are always the best ones. Star Wars is literally an adventure yarn that changed cinema forever. Star Wars is now culturally imbedded in almost everything. From the knowing nods of Sci Fi writers and directors make in their products to advertising that uses the music, or characters to sell what ever they need to.

So what is the relevance now? A film made almost three decades ago, with cheesy effects, confused brother/sister relationships and insults such as ‘nerf herder’ and ‘golden rod’. People are still clamoring now about Star Wars. Degrees are earned on the basis of study into why these films have affected so many people so much. Star Wars has all the basic human needs in a story. It has a score that turned classical music back on in the minds of children everywhere. It has good intentions, morals and beliefs combined with corruption, betrayal and loss. The emotional attachment the audience feels towards the Jedi is astounding. Especially Anakin Skywalker, who’s story Lucas tells across the six films. Anakin is a little twerp in the first, an angsty brat in the second, and a nutter in the third. But all the characters are just about likable as characters go, arrogant and on a pedestal so high you can barely see there bad haircuts. But I have watched a forty year old man cry at the death of characters not even named in the film. But he knows their names. And that is the true power of the force. May it be with you. Always.

© Robert Hillum December 2007>

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